Creating an Engaging Workplace: The Physician Leader’s Role

By: Kay Wakeham
Friday, August 2, 2013

Whether you have your own practice or serve as a leader in a physician group, you have a role in creating an engaging environment where employees give their best efforts every day. If they offer their best, they can help you achieve your practice goals.

Engagement is not a task that can be left to your manager or administrator. Practice managers and administrators have their own roles different from that of the executive. The physician leader sets the overall tone of their workplace by modeling the way.

Understand and articulate engagement.

Full employee engagement occurs when workers maximize their personal satisfaction and their personal contribution simultaneously. While disengaged employees stay with an organization for what they receive, engaged employees stay for what they give and receive. Personal satisfiers are the benefits your practice provides employees — what they receive; compensation, medical insurance and flex time are a few examples. Personal contributions are what your practice enables employees to give; examples include input to executive decisions, opportunities to use strengths at work every day and knowing how their job supports the overall purpose of the practice.

Engagement leads to results.

There is a positive correlation between engaged employees and increased productivity, safety, retention, innovation and customer satisfaction. Keeping disengaged employees can cost a practice real dollars. Gallup Consulting estimates that the average cost of disengaged employees is between $3,400–$10,000 annually per worker.

Set a clear direction and an environment of trust.

Gallup Consulting studied over 1 million employees to uncover 12 factors tied to engagement. Several factors depend upon leadership setting a clear and compelling direction for employees to follow. A vision for the future state of the practice helps employees understand what is expected of them and how their jobs contribute to the practice’s purpose. Other motivating factors require an environment of trust where all employees (including you) are held equally accountable for performance.

Leaders engage every member of the team, starting at the top.

While a third-party online survey can establish the engagement level in your practice, you don’t need a survey to pinpoint your own engagement. You can simply be more self-aware and reflect on where you are and why. Then, you can identify how to stay fully engaged. You should also coach your direct reports on increasing their own engagement and hold them responsible for doing the same with their employees. Engagement is a personal choice, and each employee should have an individual engagement and development plan — and be held accountable for it.

Kay WakehamFor more information about measuring and improving employee engagement in your practice, email Kay Wakeham, MBA, PHR, Chief Performance Officer of The Growth Coach of San Antonio, at or call 210-492-2400.